Ministry of Agriculture to Address Increase in Beef Prices

According to Minister Mai, a balance must be struck to ensure that local buyers are not struck out of the equation. One option is for Belizeans slaughterhouses to play the waiting game until prices decrease, which Minister Mai and Garcia assured us will happen. A second option is for local slaughterhouses to match the prices Guatemala and Mexico are paying. Minister Mai gave his take.

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

"We need to discuss this more in-depth with our policy unit to see where we can strike the balance. I don't believe, let me tell you something. The peak of the COVID era, you will recall that farmers were literally giving away meat, you remember? Now, farmers lost millions of dollars. Never the less they kept going. So, now the farmers have the opportunity to make a little extra buck right now. Is it wise for us to say to the farmers well you lower your price to the local consumer or to the exporter? But, we do need, I want you to understand the farmer's position, while bearing in mind the consumer's position. Now, if you look at the amount of beef consumed in the country, it is a very small amount, not a lot. Nevertheless the price right now is going up to the consumers. This is something that has to be addressed. I don't think it will last for too long because the price will even out."

Other Basic Goods Seeing Price Increases

We turn once again to the inflation that has been affecting the cost of goods on the shelves. During an appearance on Open Your Eyes this morning, Agriculture Minister Jose Mai said that not only is the price of beef increasing, products like 1-2-3 cooking oil, rice, and fertilizers are also seeing increases. Here is what Minister Mai had to say about the need to produce more value added products locally, as a response to the increasing prices on basic commodities.

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

"We have to be very careful, because not only beef has gone up, and you would know that flour is going up. The bread bakers are fighting to, rightly so they have high cost, and they want increases their price. So we are studying that in Cabinet right now. 1-2-3 oil which is the most common oil used right now has gone up. 1-2-3 Oil pays no duty and no environmental taxes nothing. These are completely zero rated products but the prices have gone up in the market. Fertilizers, Urea has gone up by a hundred and twenty percent, ocean freight by three hundred percent, all the agro imports have gone up. These are things that are not in control of the, it is not in the government's hands to control. Now, beef is no different, and rice will be no different. We have to find ways to mitigate the effects of the rising costs. This is not a national thing. It is an international phenomenon. But countries need to have their home made remedies to mitigate these effects."

Channel 5